A grapple truck is a specially designed vehicle that features a retractable and often articulated arm with a grappling hook or jaw at one end for use in construction and sanitation purposes. These trucks are also often used in logging, since they are useful for grabbing items and transporting them over short distances. A grapple truck will often feature a payload area such as a bed or dump attachment, and the heavy or bulky items picked up with the grappling hook can then be loaded into the back of the truck for transport.
A loader and body system is a type of grapple truck that features the boom arm and payload area for transport. The arm is often mounted behind the cab of the truck, in between the cab and the container, though it can also be mounted at the rear of the truck behind the container or payload. The boom arm can reach out to either side of the truck, and a grapple or bucket can pick up the bulky items. Those items can then be loaded into the container for transport. This is one of the more common grapple truck models.
A variation on the loader and body system is the roll-off grapple loader, which also features a payload area. The container in this payload area, however, can be released from the chassis of the truck when full. This is done by using a cable system that moves the container, and an elevator system that will tip the container down toward the ground. This system allows an empty container to be loaded onto the grapple truck, and when that container is filled, it can be unloaded quickly and easily, then replaced with another empty container.
Rear-mounted grapple loader units are basically units solely mounted to a truck, rather than featuring the grapple and payload area. The grapple system can be operated with a larger operating area, meaning it can grab items to the rear of the truck as well as to the sides. This type of grapple truck must be used in conjunction with another vehicle such as a dump truck that can haul off the materials that are moved by the grapple. In some cases, a trailer can be mounted to the rear-mounted grapple truck to allow materials to be loaded into the trailer, but this again cuts down the effective area in which the grapple can operate because the rear of the truck will be blocked by the trailer.